Less of Me and More of God

Brendan and I moved house recently to be near four of our children and their families. The whole downsizing thing was worse than expected. Today I tried to sort out some boxes and albums of photographs. There were loads of them. Brendan always took photographs of his big family.

The pictures sent me on an intense emotional rollercoaster ride which lasted all day. It was as if a big hand reached deep inside my heart and stirred up so many memories and emotions of people I loved, living and dead. Photos of family events, holidays, birthdays, weddings, graduations, football successes, new grandchildren, new towns, foreign travel and ministry adventures were all lying hidden and forgotten in these old boxes and albums.

I saw my fourteen children blooming and sprouting from baby, teenager, adult, some into marriage and parenthood. I wondered how Brendan and I reared fourteen children. Praise God who daily renewed our strength. When my children were young I was happy with them tucked up in bed at eight o clock at night. I wasn’t really prepared for a house full of teenage girls and boys.

The photos recorded joy, beauty, feasting, play, rest, exploring, walking, swimming and friendship. Each decade shows development, children at primary school, grammar school, university, work, marriages and grandchildren.

What was clear to me is that God has changed every one of us. For myself, as I walked down through life, I had to die to what I personally wanted to allow more of His kingdom in my life. I could see a change in my appearance from year to year. God so often lifted burdens that were too heavy to carry. I will continue to be charged into the likeness of Christ. As someone said, God hasn’t finished with me yet.

My choices today will steer my life for the next ten years. Will it steer me into life and health or will I end up in trouble because wrong choices? Even if I make bad choices God in his kindness will not let me continue in my mistaken ways. He gives us a way of escape and a chance to start afresh because of His love. Like a Father who watches over his children so God is watching over us. He knows our frame and He knows the pitfalls. I am being changed from one degree of Glory to another.

As I rummaged through the photos I was reminded of a short humorous poem Brendan once wrote.

These are the good old days we’ll all remember well.

Turned into days of heaven, from these bad days of hell.

It is good to remember the good times.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

imageWhile visiting Glasgow recently I went to see the Transport Museum.  It proved to be a great day out and  I would recommend a visit there if you are in Glasgow. There is such a variety of vehicles displayed there, from children’s bicycles to double decker buses and trams.  One item that caught my eye was a pram that was in a recreated shop window. It brought me back forty three years.

My husband bought me a similar pram for our first child.  It had plenty of room, could be pushed over all sorts of surfaces without discomfort to the baby because of the large wheels and springs.  There was room for the baby to lie down stretched out.  Baby would quickly settle if she was rocked to sleep in this pram. The large hood protected baby from cold, sea winds that blew in the town in which we lived at that time.   I enjoyed many walks proudly pushing my pram.

When we returned from Scotland Brendan gave me this photograph he had taken forty three years ago of me pushing my pram with baby Shann inside.  Brendan has always had an interest in photography and has collected many beautiful memories.  See how he framed the photo to show my reflection.  He was being prophetic showing me going through water.  We did not know then what lay ahead in our lives but love has conquered.  I have been through many deep waters since but God had not let the waters come over me.

One disadvantage, it occupied the hallway of the next house in which we lived.  I often parked the pram outside the front door.  A young girl knocked my door and asked if she could help me look after my baby for a while.  I was happy to let her push the baby in the pram to get her over to sleep.  This young lady has been a friend ever since.

Six years later I bought another spring pram.  There was one similar to it in the museum shop. My family was increasing.  I remember pushing that pram with two children in it, baby Aaron lying sleeping and Nora sitting at one end.  It was the only vehicle we owned at that time.  I went shopping with two children and was able to put the groceries underneath in a tray.  I didn’t need a licence to drive that vehicle.  Many were the walks I had pushing my precious children in this pram.  I would arrive home from a visit with a friend with two content children sleeping.  We had a good day out. image I walked down memory lane as I looked in that shop window in the Glasgow Museum.